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By Glen Miller
It’s been said that salvation is not a one-time event but rather a lifetime journey, one which starts with a basic decision of which path in life we choose to take – the light versus the dark.
It’s a decision that Brian Bosworth has faced more than once in his lifetime.
“We’ve all faced this choice and there’s not another human being that hasn’t. That’s what is so interesting about it. It doesn’t matter if you are a star, or a janitor, or what you do in life. We all have the same journey, you come in kicking and screaming and you go out hoping you are saved with your hands held high,” said Bosworth.
However, the former University of Oklahoma linebacker feels there’s more to that journey than just making the choice.
“If you don’t do anything between time, then you are leaving nothing behind. You didn’t make a mark on the planet or mark on another person – you didn’t mean anything.
“Everyone has this journey you have to go through, and some have more parts and pieces, but at the end of the day you look yourself in the mirror and you say, ‘I am who I am.’ You’ve got to ask, are you better at the end of the day than when I was at the beginning of the day? Only you know because you are the only one looking at you truthfully in the mirror,” said Bosworth.
It’s a message Bosworth hopes people will take from his new movie, “Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End,” which he is screening during his own personal journey with Christ.
The outspoken All-American, who earned the nickname “The Boz,” will make a stop in El Reno March 7 for a special “Movie Night with the Boz.” Reno Cinema 8 will be one of the first stops on Bosworth’s 44-day journey across Oklahoma promoting the faith-based film.
Bosworth hopes the movie, the first of a two-part series, speaks to movie-goers of all ages – but especially the teenage crowd.
“I’ve given this a lot of thought when talking to young people. Your next decision has got to be your best decision. The good thing is that you are confronted with decisions every single moment of your life, so you constantly have a choice. But you need to be thoughtful about the choice, and thoughtful about where you want to end up and who you want to be.
“Those kids out there that think it’s cool to bully, they need to ask themselves, ‘Is that the best choice they can make?’ At the end of the day you’ve got to look at who you are affecting and why. Look at how it’s tarnishing your own image and that it’s blocking yourself from all the goodness in people around you,” said Bosworth.
Back in front of the lens
Headed for a new life with his bride-to-be, far away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Bosworth was content on working in the oil and gas industry in the heart of Longhorn country – Austin, Texas.
Then came a call that caught him off guard.
“My agent calls me and that was a shocker because I had not seen his number on my phone in a long time. He tells me that he’s got a movie for me and I asked him, ‘Where has he been for five years,’” said Bosworth.
Unsure about turning back to that chapter of his life, Bosworth was a little skeptical of his agent’s phone call.
“I had not been working in the industry or pursuing it at all. There were too many other things in my life that I was struggling with and trying to get resolved from my past that I had not dealt with. My plate was full and it was holding me down, I was not in a great, great place because of those things.
“I told him I really didn’t think I was interested in doing a film, and it had been so long since I had done a film and I wasn’t sure if my heart was in it,” said Bosworth.
Yet his agent persisted and Bosworth agreed to take a look, even after finding out the maker (PureFlix Entertainment) was a low-budget production company that specialized in faith-based movies.
“I agreed to take a look at three movies on their website because I know what a small budget movie looks like, even if you have a great script, when you don’t have the funds to make it look like a great movie.
“I took a look at some of their stuff and called my agent back and asked if they made these movies on the same amount of money they wanted to make this new movie with – and he said yes. I knew I was not going to get paid a lot of money, but if the movie looks good, I would take a look at the script,” said Bosworth.
It was a decision that ended up changing him forever.
“I read about 20 pages of it and called my agent back and told him I thought he sent me the wrong script. My character had killed somebody with a giant hammer. I don’t know Christian movies, but I don’t think that was very Christian. He said that was my character, so I decided to read the rest of it.
“By the time I got to the end of it I put it down and said to myself, ‘Wow,’ this thing was written for exactly where my life has been for the last 15 to 20 years, my journey of darkness and the inability to forgive and let go.”
Riding down Revelation Road with “The Boz”
The movie “Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End” is indeed a faith-based movie that carries a strong message infused with action scenes and special effects found in larger-budget films.
“It’s a story about two men and their journey in opposite directions, yet they have some similarities,” said Bosworth.
The movie, which was filmed in Lancaster, Calif., depicts traveling salesman Josh McManus (played by David A.R. White) as he journeys into a small west Texas town and becomes waged in a battle with a ruthless biker gang named The Barbarians and their leader – Bosworth’s character.
“The main lead good guy is played by David A.R. White and he is haunted by his inability to find a place that he fits into this world. He is an ex-special Ops solider that has been basically erased from his duties with regards to the forces. He’s got to figure out a way that he fits into his life. His background is very mysterious and he keeps everything within himself. His wife is very Christian and wants him to be more available to God and Jesus and accept that path, but he is reluctant to accept that message and he struggles within himself for reasons that only he knows. He knows he’s got special gifts and he thinks he can contain them but still feels like a man alone on an island,” said Bosworth.
It’s a sharp contrast to Bosworth’s character named Hawg.
“My character, on the other hand, has a much darker side and darker past that we don’t understand why in the beginning. We understand that his heart is full of vengeance and he has a hard time forgiving and forgetting. He has an innate inability to let go, he is singularly focused on vengeance, but we don’t know why he is vengeful.
“You find out why at the end of the sequel, but you see this man’s journey of his inner turmoil and things that happened in his life that he wants to blame every human being and God for all the troubles in his life,” said Bosworth.
The movie’s twist in the confrontation is its biblical backdrop.
“These two people collide at the same time the Rapture happens and it becomes a journey between these two characters and trying to understand this event and what it really means for them individually. The Rapture happens and yet they are left behind,” said Bosworth.
The character’s journey is what Bosworth said appealed to him when reading the script.
“The interesting thing about the Rapture and the way I understand it from my own personal belief is that just because you walk the walk, talk the talk, read the Scriptures and recite them and go to church on Wednesday and Sundays does not necessarily give you an automatic train ticket to heaven. You can be on the flip side of that coin and have done the most horrible and unforgivable things but that doesn’t mean you won’t have the day of redemption.
“You have to stop, in most cases, look in the mirror and ask for the forgiveness and ask him to come inside your heart so that you can be released. It’s the change of our own issues, day to day, that keeps us bound to this world and keeps our souls caged instead of free,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth said he and White agreed that making the movie in two parts would add to the impact of the message. The sequel is set to be released this summer and other projects based off the series have been discussed. The second part will have a limited release on big screens before going to DVD and other media forms.
“About halfway through making the movie, White, one of the producers on the movie, came to me and said we have a predicament. We had a choice, we could either cut it down and make it a short choppy movie that gets the message across but does not have the power that we wanted, or we could do a part one and part two. I told him I thought we should do it in two parts because there were some holes in the character development that I thought needed to be filled,” said Bosworth.
Developing Hawg from his past
To make a character come alive on the big screen, actors usually pull from past experiences to shape the role, and Bosworth was no exception.
“I brought everything from the fall of my NFL football career, and being so internally torn up about the things that happened to me while I was playing,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1987 supplemental draft and would sign what was then a team-record 10-year, $11 million deal for a rookie. It was also the largest rookie contract in the NFL.
He played 12 games his first season, followed by 10 during the 1988 season. He was forced to retire two games into the 1989 season due to health reasons.
“I feel like I cheated myself in having the career that I had always wanted, but that I was so impatient that I trusted too many people to make decisions for me. My body was telling me what it needed to do, but I ignored the signs and let other people sway me into making choices that I would not have. The same decisions that a sane, normal, rational person would not have made,” said Bosworth.
That decision was to continue playing football despite having suffered a separated shoulder during a playoff game with Houston his rookie season.
“If I had listened, I would have had surgery after that first year but kept playing. I might have missed that second year and would have had to mentally deal with that, but I was so impatient and would not accept that I could not always play and play through pain. I didn’t want to let people down and wanted to make everyone happy, so I felt like I had to do it. At the end of the day it ended up costing me my career,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth’s short career, which included a lawsuit against the NFL for the right to wear his old college number (44), landed him on ESPN’s 2004 list of “Biggest Flops of the Last 25 Years.”
The NFL Network listed him No.3 on its list of NFL’s Top 10 Draft Busts.
“I don’t put a lot of merit into the people that say I was a bust because they don’t know what a bust is. A bust is someone that could not make it because they didn’t have the ability. They were just there and didn’t have the heart, soul and integrity.
“You talk with anyone in the NFL, that’s not true when they are talking about me. My injury caused me to lose my career and my choice to ignore the pain and go with what they wanted to do which was the agenda of shooting me up and just getting me through the season,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth said he had deep-seated ill will for the Seahawks and the NFL which he cast into Hawg’s character.
“I have a hard time forgiving them for that and a hard time forgiving myself for making the stupid mistake when it’s right there in front of you.
“It’s not the best analogy, but it’s like a criminal standing in the bank in desperate times and having a choice, either rob the bank or go get a job. I’m sure the guy sitting in that jail cell that robbed the bank is thinking that if he could go back to that same day, that I could change my life. You can’t go back in time, that’s your journey and how you have unfolded, but you can determine where you end up by the decisions you make and what you do with them,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth added that a bitter divorce from his first wife and a long custody battle over his two children influenced the role, but the biggest draw came from a wrong decision he made.
“There was a lot of things I went through developing this character and who to blame for the things that happened. In my football career I put so much into it that I blamed God and asked why did he give me so much and then take it away for no reason.
“But that was not what he did, he had a different choice, a different path for me. It wasn’t the path I wanted to be on, that was selfish for me to say, and at the end of the day I need to trust the path he wants me to be on. Maybe I can impact more people in a different way. As I get older and reflect on things and start putting the pieces together, that maybe things were a godsend in the chronological order they fell,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth said he would have been fine having his career end after five seasons. However, now he’s seeing that God’s plan was right and that he needed to change.
“Statistically, the guys that play in the NFL for long periods of time are only living to age 53 or 54. Now I’m seeing guys that I grew up with that are dying. They are young guys that are dying and I don’t know how many phone calls I get about another one of our Oklahoma Sooners dying. We are dropping like flies.
“I don’t want to die and I certainly don’t want to die before I’m ready in my heart and soul to die. I don’t want to lie in the dirt and not go anywhere. When I leave I want my soul to go where it was intended to go – so I’ve got a lot of work to do and this vehicle (movie) gave me the opportunity to see there is a long road ahead of me. I can choose the path that I go down. I can go down the dark side of the path or I can follow the light because the light might give me a chance to be forgiven,” said Bosworth.
Finding the lighted path
Bosworth admits he has not always walked the path the Lord intended for him, but said that during his youth and even into his playing days in Norman, he couldn’t see his way.
“I’ve gone back and forth with the Lord for years. I grew up a Catholic so when I was a kid, religion was beaten into me. You go to Catholic school and you are forced to believe something that you are just not old enough to understand,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth played for Barry Switzer for three seasons at Oklahoma and was named a consensus All-American in 1985 and again in 1986. He sported wild haircuts and was an outspoken critic of the NCAA, referring to college sports governing body as “National Communists Against Athletes,” and wore a T-shirt after the 1987 Orange Bowl bearing that slogan.
“You go through your human life, which is 10 to 25, thinking you don’t need any help and that you can do it on your own and pick and choose what you want. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it really doesn’t work to your ultimate advantage. You might have some successes, but there are just as many failures.
“That’s what happened to me. My journey when I left Oklahoma, I was all high and mighty and beating my chest and felt like I could do no wrong, but yet I had done wrong at Oklahoma. That was my dream place to go, but yet the way I left, I know I hurt a lot of people and it hurt me to hurt those people because I made stupid mistakes.
“Those momentary, 20-year-old snap judgments when you are not thinking through your choices and letting other things like your ego make the choices,” said Bosworth.
So what brought Bosworth back toward the lighted path?
“I don’t know if I had a singular moment of clarity. I’ve had a lot of nudges, like when my father passed away. I had a huge grudge against my father and things I could not forget and things I could not let go. But I had another epiphany when I stood there watching him pass over. I wanted to go back and take some of those moments of hatred out because there is no use for them,” said Bosworth.
Then there were nudges from men like Switzer, his old junior high football coach and even a grade school principal who broke a paddle on Bosworth’s back side.
“I’ve always had guys in the past that have tried to help direct me in the right way and I thank God (no pun intended) that I have chosen some of the correct paths,” said Bosworth.
Bosworth said the movie was another one of those nudges.
“It ended up being a God blessing for me. It gave me a lot of internal therapy and a chance to reflect on how to deal with some of the things that I have to deal with in my life. I understand the mortality of that you never know when your last sunrise is going to be and that when you wake up and look up and say, ‘What a beautiful day,’ that could be the last one you get.
“If you are not prepared and have not given your heart away, then you kind of lived your live for nothing and have not accomplished anything. It gave me a lot of inner perspective on who I am, where I am and what I’m doing with my life and what impact I have really given.
“Yes, I have done a lot of great things and have been famous. I’ve fallen a lot and have had to get back up and have been forgiven, but I don’t know if I have ever forgiven myself. So in a lot of ways the movie was something that helped me get through a lot of the things I needed to get through,” said Bosworth.
The journey back home
Bosworth played high school football at Irving MacArthur High School in Texas, but was born in Oklahoma City. He says his hard work ethic stems from a summer job picking green beans on his grandfather’s farm in Meeker.
“It gave me a perspective for hard work,” said Bosworth.
So when it came time to promote the movie, he could think of no better place than Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma is made up of a bunch of small towns that is the real backbone. Sure, we have the big cities, but it’s the small towns, the work ethics, the belief and the foundation of the small towns and the way they raise their kids and the way they believe in life and what is right, to me, that is the roots and the blanket of Oklahoma,” said Bosworth.
He considered screening the movie in casinos but canned the idea as “too cliché.” Then came a random response from a question he posted on Twitter.
“I put out a blanket statement on Twitter and got a response from someone in Altus. I had never been to Altus and looked it up on the map and decided, that’s where I needed to go. I need to go to the small towns and they will appreciate it.
“They will get a chance to have a ‘Movie Night with the Boz’ and have the chance to get something no other state will get which is to see the movie on the big screen with someone that is in the movie that can talk about it and relate to them,” said Bosworth.
His movie quest will end in April after 44 days.
“Somehow the number 44 has just worked in my life. I want to take this journey and spread this message because at the end of the day, it’s the small towns that make up our great state,” he said.
A state, says Bosworth, which has always been behind him through the good times and the bad.
“When the idea came about to do the screening, I felt like I had a mission. I wanted to take it back to Oklahoma and show it to my people. As many times as I have fallen and made a fool of myself, the first people that have always forgiven me has been Oklahomans.
“I don’t know why that is, maybe they understand I’m an Oklahoma boy and that sometimes we are a little rambunctious and rowdy, but they see the heart and see that I’m a real guy that really cares and I have a lot of loyalty to my state,” said Bosworth.